Press Release

6 April 2020

25% increase in calls to National Domestic Abuse Helpline since lockdown measures began

Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity says calls to its Helpline have risen by 25% since lockdown measures began.

Isolation has potential to aggravate pre-existing behaviours in abusive partners but isn’t reason for abusive behaviour.

As the UK enters the third week of lockdown measures, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge said:

‘Since the UK lockdown measures were announced, Refuge has worked round the clock to ensure its life-saving services remain open and accessible to any woman who needs them. Prior to the lockdown measures being introduced, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline run by Refuge, logged on average 270 calls and contacts per day.

During the week commencing 30 March, calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline increased by an average of 25%, while hits to the national domestic abuse website increased by 150% during the initial stages of Covid-19 lockdown.

Ordinarily, the window for women to seek help is extremely limited. During periods of isolation with their perpetrators, this window narrows further. It is critical that women have alternative, digital ways of accessing help. Refuge wants every woman who needs support to know where and how to access it. If it is too difficult to make a call, women can also access support online, filling in a web form, indicating a safe and secure time to be contacted.

Isolation is often used as a tool to abuse – and while the current lockdown has the potential to exacerbate abuse – it is not the reason for it. Domestic abuse is a crime and is ultimately rooted in power and control. Violence is a choice a man makes. He alone is responsible for it.

Women experiencing domestic abuse are not alone. Refuge is here to support women today, tomorrow, and in the future. I urge any woman who needs help to contact us, and to know that there is support available”.

Spokespeople available on request. Please contact the press office on 0207 395 7731 or email